Players Famous and Infamous
From Casey of Mudville to girls charging the little league field.
“Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
“The Baseball Players” by Donald Hall
they pause: wary,
“A Late Elegy for a Baseball Player” by Felix Stefanile
cleats on his shoes,
and a hometown shoulder,
“A Ballad of Baseball Burdens” by Franklin Pierce Adams
So pitch that every man can but admire
And offer you the freedom of the town—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.
“First Girls in Little League Baseball” by J. Patrick Lewis
Now what you hear, as flags unfurl,
Is “Atta boy!” and “Atta girl!”
Metaphors for Life
Poets playfully measure baseball’s symbolic weight.
“Analysis of Baseball” by May Swenson
to take bat’s
“In Baseball” by Baron Wormser
It’s the keenness of conflict that appeals
“Baseball” by Gail Mazur
this is not a microcosm,
not even a slice of life
“Baseball and Classicism” by Tom Clark
Every day I peruse the box scores for hours
Sometimes I wonder why I do it
Dreams and Fantasies
Baseball imagery seeps up from the subconscious.
“A Poem About Baseballs” by Denis Johnson
i know i will
miss, because i always miss when it
takes so long.
“Dream in Which I Love a Third Baseman” by Lisa Olstein
Off-field, outside the park, beyond
the gates, something was burning.
“Clothespins” by Stuart Dybek
Bushes, a double,
off the fence, triple,
and over, home run.
“Grand Slam” by Marjorie Maddox
this is the moment replayed on winter days
when frost covers the field,
Fathers, sons, and daughters on the field and in the stands.
“Sign for My Father, Who Stressed the Bunt” by David Bottoms
I could homer
into the left-field lot of Carmichael Motors,
and still you stressed the same technique,
“Poem for My Father” by Quincy Troupe
but you, there, father, through it all, a yardbird solo
riffing on bat & ball glory, breaking down the fabricated myths
“The Interpretation of Baseball” by Carole Oles
And go back to the bleachers at Yankee Stadium
where you took me at 7 though I was not the son
“Bad People” by Mark Halliday
Kenny’s bottle smashed on home plate and Jack heard in the sound
the absurdity of all his desiring since seventh grade,
Watching the game becomes a sport unto itself.
“The Crowd at the Ball Game” by William Carlos Williams
So in detail they, the crowd,
“7th Game : 1960 Series” by Paul Blackburn
men’s eyes are blank
their thoughts are all in Pittsburgh
“Old Men Watching Baseball” by Oliver Evans
Uneasy knowledge in them of a time
When they, like these, could hit and fitly run
“Tao in the Yankee Stadium Bleachers” by John Updike
The thought of death is peppermint to you
when games begin with patriotic song
and a democratic sun beats broadly down.
ARTICLES & BLOG POSTS
Poets and players on attentiveness, idleness, intimacy, and other parallels between poetry and baseball.
“Baseball and Verse, from Tinker to Evers to Big Papi” by Levi Stahl
Baseball’s very rhythms are those of poetry, acknowledging that if everything can change in a moment, then attention to those moments is an essential duty.
“Para Rumbiar: Robert Creeley in the outfield” by Fernando Perez
I write from Caracas, the murder capital of the world, where I’ve been employed by the Leones to score runs and prevent balls from falling in the outfield.
Poets historically can be pretty fun ballgame companions, and not only if they are on hallucinogens at a Red Sox/Yankees game like Ted Berrigan and Harris Schiff in the great Yo-Yo’s with Money.
“Say Hey: Of pens and pennants” by Ron Silliman
What sets these poems apart from the bulk of baseball poetry, and from the ideology of individual accomplishment that is so much a part of the ethos of the sport, is that they’re about failure, and about intimacy, implying a deep, even necessary connection between the two.
“Strangers in the Nest: A poet and a sportswriter go on a macrophenomenal tour of everyday irrelevance” by Anselm Berrigan and Bethlehem Shoals
And in baseball, there’s so much space in the sport. The pitchers are doing a lot physically, but at the same time, they’re also standing there. You have to get interested in a slower sense of time passing.